The Best Movies of 2018

  • Publish Date: January 4, 2019
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

Roma is the best-reviewed movie of 2018

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2018 96 Roma
2017 94 Faces Places
2016 99 Moonlight
2015 96 Carol
2014 100 Boyhood
2013 97 12 Years a Slave
High Scoring Movies by Year
(Minimum 7 Reviews)

In 2017, when we ranked the best directors of the current century so far, Alfonso Cuarón placed first with a 87.5 average Metascore. So it's hard to call his latest film his "masterpiece" given that he's already made so many acclaimed films. And, yet, it appears that Cuarón has made his masterpiece.

The director's black-and-white, Spanish-language Netflix drama Roma is 2018's highest-scoring film. (Unsurprisingly, it's also dominating critics' year-end top 10 lists.) It's the first time since 2011 that a foreign-language narrative film has taken the top spot in our year-end chart. All that's left to determine is whether Roma will become the second #1 film in three years (following 2016's Moonlight) to win best picture at the Oscars—though, it should be noted, no foreign-language film has ever done so.

Multiple critics recently noted that 2018 was a good year for film, and the numbers bear that out. It was the fourth consecutive year in which the number of truly outstanding films—marked by Metascores of 90 or higher—was in the double digits. In fact, there were 15 such films in 2018, setting an all-time record. (See the chart below.)

A total of 604 films released during 2018 received at least seven reviews from top professional critics. Of those, 351 received positive reviews from critics (scoring 61 or higher). That's an impressive 58% approval rate, though it's down slightly from 2017's percentage of 59%.

For the second consecutive year, a total of 69 of those films received a Metascore of 81 or higher, the cutoff we use to indicate "universal acclaim" from reviewers. The average Metascore for all films released in 2018 was 62.1, which is a few tenths of a point shy of the average in 2017. At the other end of the scale, just four films scored lower than 20, again matching 2017's figure. Are we in the beginning of a new golden age of cinema, or is this just a two-year fluke? Ask us again a year from now.

Total number of films scoring at least 90, by year

The year's best films

Below are 2018's highest-scoring overall films regardless of genre, followed by separate lists of the year's best movies in a variety of categories.

Highest-Scoring Movies Released in 2018

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Movie Score Watch Now
1Roma96 Watch on Netflix 
2Amazing Grace95  
3Shoplifters93  
4Shoah: Four Sisters93  
5Minding the Gap93 Watch on Hulu 
6They Shall Not Grow Old92  
7The Rider92 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
8Gavagai91  
9A Bread Factory Part Two: Walk With Me a While91  
10A Bread Factory Part One: For the Sake of Gold91  
11Cold War91  
12The Favourite90  
13Burning90  
14Eighth Grade90 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
15The Tale90 Buy From Amazon Instant Video HBO
16Zama89 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
17Dead Souls89  
18The Death of Stalin88 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
19Crime + Punishment88 Hulu
20Paddington 288 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
21A Star Is Born88  
22Leave No Trace88 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
23Shirkers88 Watch on Netflix 
24Museo88  
25Black Panther88 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Netflix 
26Sweet Country87 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
27Jane Fonda in Five Acts87  HBO
28Can You Ever Forgive Me?87  
29En el Séptimo Día (On the Seventh Day)87  
30Hereditary87 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
31Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse87 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
32Bisbee '1787  
33If Beale Street Could Talk87  
34Mission: Impossible – Fallout86 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
35Happy as Lazzaro86 Watch on Netflix 
36Support the Girls85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
37Tea with the Dames85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
38First Reformed85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
39Won't You Be My Neighbor?85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
40McQueen84 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
41We the Animals84 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
42You Were Never Really Here84 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
43Widows84  
44Love After Love84 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
45First Man84  
46On Her Shoulders84  
47Custody83 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
48The Guilty83  
49Who We Are Now83 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
50Private Life83 Watch on Netflix 
51BlacKkKlansman83 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
52Free Solo83  
53Thunder Road83  
54Ava82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
55A Quiet Place82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
56The Waldheim Waltz82  
57John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
58Araby82  
59Isle of Dogs82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
60Mountain82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
61Life and Nothing More82  
62The Hate U Give82  
63Western81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
64Mandy81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
65Three Identical Strangers81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
66Revenge81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
67Summer 199381 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
68The Guardians81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
69Mirai81  
70Hale County This Morning, This Evening80  
71Sorry to Bother You80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Hulu 
72Incredibles 280 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
73Nossa Chape80  
74I Am Not a Witch80  
75Lean on Pete80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
76Claire's Camera80  
77The Endless80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
78Liyana80  
79The Old Man & the Gun80  
80Wildlife80  
 The Great Buddha+80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
82Annihilation79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
83November79 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
84Science Fair79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
85Night Comes On79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
86The Other Side of the Wind79 Watch on Netflix 
87The Ballad of Buster Scruggs79 Watch on Netflix 
88Let the Sunshine In79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
89Angels Wear White78 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
90The Green Fog78  
91The Sisters Brothers78  
92The Grief of Others78  
93At Eternity's Gate78  
94In Between78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
95Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda78  
96Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
97Goldstone78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
98Hitler's Hollywood78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
99Blindspotting77 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
100Have a Nice Day77  


For this and all tables in this article, only movies with seven or more reviews and released in at least one theater (or on a streaming service) in the United States between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 were considered. Re-releases of older films are excluded. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). Although scores have been rounded to the nearest whole number, movies are ranked prior to rounding. All scores in this article are from January 2, 2019.

Best 2018 Films in Selected Genres

movie still 
2018's Best Documentaries
1Amazing Grace95  
2Shoah: Four Sisters93  
3Minding the Gap93 Watch on Hulu 
4They Shall Not Grow Old92  
5Dead Souls89  
6Crime + Punishment88 Watch on Hulu 
7Shirkers88 Watch on Netflix 
8Jane Fonda in Five Acts87 HBO
9Bisbee '1787  
10Tea with the Dames85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
11Won't You Be My Neighbor?85 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
12McQueen84 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
13On Her Shoulders84  
14Free Solo83  
15The Waldheim Waltz82  
16John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
17Mountain82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
18Three Identical Strangers81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
19Hale County This Morning, This Evening80  
20Nossa Chape80  
21Liyana80  
22Science Fair79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
23Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda78  
24Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
25Hitler's Hollywood78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
movie still 
2018's Best Foreign-Language Films (Live-action narrative films only)
1Roma96 Watch on Netflix 
2Shoplifters93  
3Gavagai91  
4Cold War91  
5Burning90  
6Zama89 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
7Museo88  
8Happy as Lazzaro86 Watch on Netflix 
9Custody83 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
10The Guilty83  
11Ava82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
12Araby82  
13Western81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
14Summer 199381 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
15The Guardians81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
16I Am Not a Witch80  
17Claire's Camera80  
18The Great Buddha+80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
19November79 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
20Let the Sunshine In79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
21Angels Wear White78 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
22In Between78 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
23On Body and Soul77 Watch on Netflix 
2424 Frames76  
25Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts76 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
movie still 
2018's Best Animated Films
1Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse87 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
2Isle of Dogs82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
3Mirai81  
4Incredibles 280 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
5Have a Nice Day77  
6Mary and The Witch's Flower75 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
7Tehran Taboo74 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
8Big Fish & Begonia72 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
9Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms72  
10Ralph Breaks the Internet71  
movie still 
2018's Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Films (English-language, live action)
1Black Panther88 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Netflix 
2The Endless80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
3Annihilation79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
4I Kill Giants74 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
5Ant-Man and the Wasp70 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
6Prospect68  
7Avengers: Infinity War68 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
8Upgrade67 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
9Bumblebee67  
10Deadpool 266 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
movie still 
2018's Best Horror Films and Supernatural Thrillers
1Hereditary87 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
2A Quiet Place82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
3Mandy81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
4Revenge81 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
5The Endless80 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
6Annihilation79 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
7Cam71  
8Ghost Stories68 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
9The Little Stranger67 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
10Halloween67  

What about the year's worst movies?

For one thing, the year's worst movie was historically bad. Find the 15 most awful titles released in 2018 in the gallery below:

What are your favorites?

What are your selections for the best and worst movies of the past year? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you are looking for even more of 2018's best films, be sure to check out our compilation of nearly 300 film critic top 10 lists as well as our 2018 Film Awards Scorecard.

Comments (2)

  • GabrielSM  

    Boyhood: best movie made by mankind! Moonlight's a close second! The third place goes to: Godfather.

  • ABAwesome  

    Metacritic insisting on giving 100 to Boyhood (a bogus score unless their algorithm works different than advertised) continues to stick out like a sore thumb. What an embarrassingly bad movie that critics were suckered into by the allure of "12 years in the making."

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